Austin Bouse's latest update for BLOOD TRADE

Oct 31, 2015



As a special Halloween treat, here is chapter four of BLOOD TRADE! In which we see that Lester Niles, the serial killer that you met in chapter one, has a very. . . unique taste in midnight snacks. Thank you all so much for the support and remember to share the campaign with others. Have a Spooky Day!


Lester Niles took another swig of whiskey. He never drank, but started to once the voices came back. This is the way your brain ends. Not with screams, but with whispers. He couldn’t make them out most of the time except for one phrase: The blood is the life. Over and over again he would roll the words around in his mouth with his tongue. The vowels would hug his teeth. The blood is the life. The blood is the life. The blood is the life. Thebloodisthelife. Thebloodisthelife. T-H-E-B-L-O-O-D-I-S-T-H-E-L-I- F-E. The words turned into sounds. Devoid of any meaning to the english language. It was like a magical incantation that, when said enough times, would grant him his wish.  

     He had left his home at this point. After he decided he would no longer be the delivery boy for Them, he went AWOL. No two weeks notice at his job, no feeding his cats, no nothing. He even left his truck parked in the garage. His house was now silent as a grave. He scratched his beard and took another swig. God, he hated the hair on his face. Even more so now. He felt every single follicle around his mouth squirming like little black maggots.  The voices continued to chant their motto. Lester could almost hum to it.

     Something inside him told him to stop walking. He turned and saw that he was standing in front of a store called Pete’s Pet Store. A giant cartoon dog burned neon against the night sky above the sign. Its big red tongue hung out of its goofy smile as if it were forever frozen, big and wide. He saw a similar frozen look in his victims. He missed killing so much. Sometimes, he openly wept in the streets from his aching heart. Before Them, he would be able to select, plan, and kill whomever he desired. But ever since that night he quit, he had lost his craft. They stopped sending him instructions and with them his focus. He was like a child without a parent. Wandering the streets aimlessly. He stabbed a couple of homeless men with a glass shard, but that did nothing to satisfy his thirst. And so he drank and drank and drank.

     Lester was plagued by visions as well. Not with fantasies of murder, but the stuff of nightmares. Rats. Thousands of them, millions of them. All clawing at his body. He had awoken  in cold sweats with cuts and scratches all over his torso. Whether they were from the claws of rodents or his own hands he did not know. A scent caught his attention in the pet store. It smelled of something juicy and hot, like a hamburger. He threw the bottle in a trash can next to him on the street and walked in. 

     The cacophony of animals swarmed around him. Dogs barking, parrots squawking, and so on and so forth. He saw the man behind the desk mouth the words “we’ll be closing in ten” but he did not hear him. He looked down and saw the name tag on the bright blue collared shirt that he was wearing. “MIKE” it said in big black letters. Well, Mike would have to wait. 

     Lester went passed the aisles of pet food and toys. Bright drawings of creatures looked back at him at him with giant eyes. The scent of processed food lifted through the bags and hit his nose. Animals being served parts of other animals. He almost laughed at the irony of it. The florescent lights above him burned with the heat of a thousand suns. Sweat started to pour down from his brow. The tips of his fingers vibrated. As if he could feel every particle of dust that touched them. He felt the front of his pants suddenly go stiff. Every sight that was in the pet store was turned up to maximum effect. He could taste, touch, and hear everything around him. The world had become a huge river of sensory overload and he swam through it with great ease. For he knew what was waiting for him at the end of the stream.

     He passed the reptile isle. Lizards crawled back into their little wooden dwellings in their tanks. Snakes hissed at him with fangs bared. He remembered when he was a child and he encountered a snake in his backyard once. It did not bite him, but slowly went through the grass as he did now through the store. That image of the cold, dry serpent through the grass was added to an ever growing list of fears that he kept all his life. The snakes were up there with rats, heights, and clowns. But not tonight. Tonight he was free of fear. 

     At last, he arrived at his destination: the insect isle. He scanned the clear containers, licking his lips like he was at a buffet. Crickets? Too crunchy. Worms? Too slimy. Beetles? Not enough fat. He became nervous, slowly realizing that he may not be able to find the beacon that brought him to this place. As if on queue, there it was. A bright light shown from the heavens above. He walked over and saw a tarantula crawling through the tiny sand pebbles of its home. Tears started to well in his eyes. The eight-legged creature was so beautiful. He opened his nostrils and the delicious hamburger smell overwhelmed him. He reached in and picked up the arachnid. Every single hair of the thing pricked his skin as he held it in his palm. He stroked its thorax and felt his erection grow more. Its eight eyes gazed at him like tiny pieces of obsidian. 

     He quickly put the tarantula in his mouth. There was a small crack as he bit down on its bones. Blood popped from it, like a grape, filling his mouth. One of the legs of the insect twitched its way out of the corner of his lips, but he pushed it back in with one of his fingers. He chewed it slowly. Savoring every hair and organ that went through his gums. His taste buds erupted with pleasure. Lester moaned loudly. This was better than killing. This was euphoric. Now he knew what the disciples must have felt like when they ate at the Last Supper.

     “What the fuck?” Mike’s voice broke the divine intervention. Lester turned and saw the employee standing a few feet from him.

 Mike’s mouth was open and his eyes were wide with disgust. Heaven had turned back into the pet store and Lester quickly swallowed his dinner. “Sorry,” he said. “Store closing already?”

     Mike bent over and vomited on the floor. Lester quickly looked over the heaving man and saw that the entrance was too far away. He bolted to the back of the store. 

     “Hey!” Mike yelled after him, wiping puke from his mouth. “Get the hell back here!”

     As he ran, Lester threw everything in the isles at the employee. Leashes, cages, anything. He got to the aquarium section and toppled over glass containers filled with sea life. Mike slipped on the water and onto broke glass. He let out a scream of pain as a splinter dug into his leg through his pants. Blood slowly melted on to a gold fish that was flopping on the ground next to Mike. Lester couldn’t help but smile as the memory of his first murder came to him. But there was no time for nostalgia. He saw a door that had the red exit sign beaming above it and ran out. 

     Now in an alleyway, he ran and ran until he suddenly hit something. The metal of the dumpster warbled from the aftershock. Lester hit the ground and then, right there in the alleyway, he began to cry. All of this, his life, was now nothing but shame. Shame from killing people, shame from drinking, shame from eating a harmless spider. He felt sick. In between the loud sobs and the film of tears in his eyes, he suddenly realized where his need to kill came from. It came from Hell itself. Satan had given him these urges, these desires from his very birth. Yes, the Great Deceiver had tricked him into thinking that they were good urges. That he should indulge in them. Lucifer even sent a demon onto earth to make him do his bidding. But now Jesus had shown him the way. By placing that dumpster in his path, Christ had given him a literal metaphor for what his life had become: garbage. And the only way to get out of it, was through Him. Lester had decided that yes, he would go back to church every Sunday. Yes, he would memorize the Holy Book. Yes, he would praise His name, Amen. 

     Lester slowly got up and brushed off his pants. His sobbing slowly turned into laughter. The blood is the life. That wasn’t a demon that was chanting, it was God. His blood. The Blood. That was the only way to get out of this mess. 

     “Thank you, Jesus!” Lester gasped through the laughter. “Thank you, Jesus!” He suddenly felt something hard hit him on the back of his head and then everything went black.